Koufax released their third proper LP, Hard Times Are In Fashion, on Tuesday. If you've followed these guys since the beginning, you know they have yet to make a record with one consistent line-up. Essentially a duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist Robert Suchan and keyboardist Jared Rosenberg, they've had a few drummers, bassists and even once had a second keyboardist. Now as a five-piece with Ben Force on second guitar, Rob Pope on bass and Ryan Pope on drums, and despite all the shifting line-ups, Koufax has made yet another solid record.
For such a guitar/keyboard-heavy band, I think it's cool that Hard Times Are In Fashion features some pedal steel guitar on a few tracks. Now don't take that to mean that Koufax has gone into hokey country territory. This is some of the same good stuff they've done since their debut LP, It Had to Do With Love, but with some new touches.
Suchan's lyrics often touch on relationships, whether they're on friends or girlfriends or wives, and while that's still in tact on Hard Times, there are quite a few observations on the post-9/11 times. "This is the age of no feeling," Suchan declares on the lead-off track, "Why Bother At All?" I know apathy is always around, but I think it's even more prevalent these days. Plus, with the rather less-than-sympathetic views of the US in spots all over the world and Koufax's tendency of touring in certain foreign spots, it comes as no surprise that this is brought up in the lyrics. Being treated like you're a problem because you're from the US provides a rather fresh take on what it means to be an American these days. With so much hoot and hollerin' about who's "anti-American" or not, Suchan isn't getting on his high horse; he's just telling his side.
As a fan of Koufax, I'm glad that the band has stretched out, aren't resting on tired laurels but aren't doing something radically different. Who knows what they'll cook up next . . .